The Foghorn believes that health care is a human right, not a privilege for those who can afford it. That belief extends to our support of SB 562, the Healthy California Act, a state bill that would establish universal health care in California. Similar to health care systems in Canada and most of Europe, the bill would establish a single-payer system in which the state government would provide coverage to all Californians, funded largely by the state and public. This is fundamentally different from a market based system like the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the American Health Care Act (Trumpcare) in which citizens privately purchase their own insurance, which is largely dependent on their income.
We believe that the kind of health care one receives should not be contingent on their socioeconomic status. Proponents of a market based system, like the one California has now, believe that health care is analogous to picking out clothes at a store—like a dress or shirt, the quality would get better with the amount you are able to spend on it. We disagree. Health care is a right, not a privilege, and should be treated as such.
The doctrine of universal healthcare is also synonymous with USF values. Pedro Arrupe S.J., whose philosophies USF bases its own from, once said, “Anyone who lives only for his or her own interests not only provides nothing for others. He or she does worse…denying…to those weaker than themselves their proper share of the God-given means for human development.”
A single-payer healthcare system ensures that those who can support people without health care, will. While a common point of contention in the single-payer debate is the rise in taxes to fund health care for others, the Foghorn understands that helping those in need is a cornerstone of the USF values. In addition, this bill would also provide health care to Californians who need it most: undocumented immigrants. Protecting undocumented immigrants is congruent not only to USF values, but to California values, as we may become the first sanctuary state.
The Foghorn does concede that universal health care is a difficult feat to achieve as well as maintain: Vermont’s single-payer system failed in 2014 after its citizens grew weary of the higher taxation, and there are many administrative challenges about state run health care that not only need to be addressed, but fixed. However, we would be remiss if we did not support this opportunity to provide healthcare to the entire state of California. With the possibility that the disastrous American Health Care Act might be passed, California needs needs to protect its citizens and ensure that all of its inhabitants have access to healthcare.